Mercedes has come up with a trailer design which it reckons cuts wind resistance by 18 per cent and fuel consumption by nearly five per cent.
The aero trailer is the flagship of a new “Truck and Trailer 7plus” initiative being launched by Mercedes-Benz. By taking a holistic approach to the tractor unit and trailer it aims to cut the fuel consumption – and thus also the CO2 emissions of semi-trailer tractors at the same time.
A front air-dam on the trailer reduces the distance to the tractor unit and lowers the wind resistance by one per cent. Meanwhile side trim panels contribute an eight-per cent improvement. They are slightly drawn-in at the front and characterised by an opening at the rear. This steers the air in the direction of the striking rear diffuser. The diffuser has the shape of a parallelogram and links up with the underbody panelling. This improves the wind resistance by one to two per cent.
A rear end taper measuring slightly more than 400 mm in length forms a crucial part of the aerodynamic concept. It features folding elements to facilitate access to the load compartment. The rear end taper improves wind resistance by a further seven per cent.
In total the aero trailer lowers the wind resistance of the entire semitrailer tractor by approximately 18 per cent. Mercedes-Benz says this results in a reduction in fuel consumption amounting to almost five per cent in real-life road traffic. In the case of an average mileage of 150,000 km a year this means a saving of some 2000 litres of diesel fuel and relieves the burden on the environment to the tune of over five tonnes of CO2 per annum.
The dimensions of the load compartment are unaffected, but to accommodate the taper at the back of the trailer, it has been extended by half a metre over the current length limit.
Mercedes-Benz said: “It is here that changes to legislation are necessary, as in the case of tail lifts and transportable fork-lift trucks, for instance, where exceptions of a similar magnitude are already granted.”